What Are Some Of The Non-Functional Routines Commonly Observed In Individuals With Autism?

Dr. Filipek answers the question: 'Non-Functional Routines With Autism?'

Oct. 23, 2008 -- Question: What are some of the non-functional routines commonly observed in individuals with autism, and why might a person with autism become agitated when his or her schedule changes?

Answer: What we see as non-functional routines in individuals with autism, may actually have great function for them in helping them to predict their environment. These behaviors can range in young children from insisting that everything be placed in the same area of their room, that nothing be changed, that no one can touch their toys, that they only eat white foods, and can go on to, as they get older, to have things categorized and sorted in specific ways that have meaning to the individual. It helps individuals with autism predict their environment which is one of the hallmarks of their difficulties, their inability to predict what people or their environment is going to do.